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THE PRIDE OF OKLAHOMA

by Staff Writer / New York Islanders

Matt Donovan
Matt Donovan is still in shock after being drafted by the Islanders in the fourth round over a month ago. What makes his selection even more shocking is the fact that Donovan is the first drafted hockey player to be born and raised in the state of Oklahoma.


A native of Edmond, a suburb outside of Oklahoma City, Donovan picked up the sport of hockey thanks to his dad Larry, who is a native of Boston and avid Bruins fan.

"He went to school in Boston and transferred to Oklahoma, met my mom, stayed there and always worked around the rinks," said Donovan, who plays for the USHL's Cedar Rapids. "When I was born, he was still working around the rinks and so I was always around the rinks when I was younger. He still works at the rink, doing various jobs there."

Larry played ice hockey through high school and even played a few games for the CHL's Oklahoma City Blazers.

The younger Donovan grew up in Oklahoma a Bruins fan, but has yet to see a game in Boston.

"I saw my first Bruins game live in Oklahoma City when they played an exhibition game against St. Louis in the mid-90s," said Donovan. "I remember going to that and really enjoying it. It was fun not having to go very far to see an NHL game. The closest games besides that are in Dallas, two and a half hours away. I've been to a couple of Stars games."

In and around Oklahoma, the highest level of hockey is the CHL's Oklahoma City Blazers, who Larry Donovan skated a few games with. Besides that, the highest level is Midget AA.

"I moved away after my first year of midgets to Dallas to play triple-A," said Donovan. "That's where I got recruited to go before being drafted by the Cedar Rapids of the USHL, where I played last season."

There has been some hype around Oklahoma rinks about Donovan being drafted and some media attention, but he says that there isn't much talk about it outside the small hockey pockets.

"It's awesome being from Oklahoma and being drafted," said Donovan. "Hopefully, it does a lot for hockey in Oklahoma. I'm really excited to be drafted by the Islanders. I'm looking forward to one day playing in the NHL."
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